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Media Advisory: President of Afghanistan's Parliament, Mohammad Younous Qanooni, Speaks on Country's Democratization

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 26, 2007)

Monday, October 29, 2007, 4-5 p.m.

University Hall 110, University at Albany Uptown Campus, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany

The Taliban's fall from power during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 opened the door to the establishment of democracy in Afghanistan. One of the two most significant figures in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's democratic transition is the head, or president, of the legislative branch of government, His Excellency Mohammad Younous Qanooni.  

Qanooni is also speaker of the lower house, and leader of the Afghanistan e Naween (New Afghanistan) political party. Speaker Qanooni worked alongside Afghan national hero Ahmad Shah Massoud to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and establish the Northern Alliance, and served as Afghanistan's defense minister and chairman of the Security Commission in the early 1990s. He fought against the Taliban after their occupation of Kabul.

Following Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, Qanooni served as chief negotiator for the Northern Alliance delegation to the Bonn conference on Afghanistan, where he played a major role in securing the support and cooperation of the international community. Qanooni alternately served as Minister of Interior and Education of Afghanistan's interim government. During his tenure as Minster of Interior he reconstituted the national and border police and secured Kabul and other urban cities.

Speaker Qanooni ran in Afghanistan's 2004 national presidential election, and placed second to current President Hamid Karzai. He was elected in the subsequent 2005 Afghan parliamentary elections, and today serves as a representative from Kabul province.  After his election to parliament, Qanooni created the New Afghanistan Party, and later was instrumental in forming an alliance of several parties known as the Jabahai Tafahim Millie (National Understanding Front).  On December 21, 2005 Qanooni was chosen to lead the 249-seat lower house of Afghanistan's National Assembly.

The event is sponsored by the University at Albany's Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and the Center for International Development.

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